Help United Better Their Kayak Policy - Mountain Buzz

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Old 10-17-2012   #1
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 170
Help United Better Their Kayak Policy

Dear Kayaking Community, I have a huge favor to ask of you. If you love traveling with your kayak, please take the time to submit this to United. United is one of the few US airlines that accepts kayaks; but they have recently put an asterisks on this policy that for all 737 planes, the kayaks have to be under 72 inches. This means we basically can't fly creek boats ANYWHERE as most flights have at least 1 leg on a 737 (these are actually quite BIG planes).

I've written a request that you can copy and paste into United's "customer care" form (see link at the bottom for this form). It will take a bit of time as you have to fill in some information for them, but if you ever plan to travel with a kayak, it will be well worth it! And if you don't like my letter, feel free to write you own!

Thanks for your help! And please feel free to share this with whoever you think might be interested in helping.

Here is the letter:

Dear United Airlines,
Let me start this letter by saying thank you for being one of the few U.S. based airlines that accepts kayaks. The traveling kayaking world thanks you! As you know, whitewater kayaks these days are nearly indestructible and are, for the most part, under 115 inches and under 50 lbs. So, all and all a reasonable item to accept when you consider how comparatively fragile windsurfers, surf boards and wave skis are.

With outfitters offering national and international kayaking trips in Nepal, Norway, California, Colorado,Costa Rica, Ecuador, Chile and Italy and many more destinations, it's definitely a great business endeavor to attract adventure traveler's to your airline.

I do, however, have a complaint with your sporting equipment policies: you currently do not accept kayaks over 72 inches on your 737 planes. Most modern whitewater kayaks are longer than 72 inches. And most flights to rivers around the world require at least one leg on a 737 plane. Essentially, your policy of accepting kayaks is rendered futile to 90% of kayakers by this stipulation.

Yet, according to your website, you do allow wave skis, surf boards, windsurfers to be up to 115 inches long and 70 lbs on your 737 flights. We aren't talking small United Express flights here, the 737 is a BIG plane. This part is confusing to me. If I can bring a 70 lb, 115 inch long wave ski on your 737 planes, why can't I bring my 45 lb, 105 inch long kayak on your 737 plane?

It's obviously not an issue of size/space.

So I ask you, on behalf of the larger kayaking community, please allow kayaks up to 115 inches on your 737 planes.

This not only will make your policies consistent, but it will be advantageous to you.
1.)more kayakers will book with United
2.) you get $100-$200 extra per kayak on your plan
3.) kayaks are made of hard plastic made to slam into rocks on the rivers and are extremely tough so you don't have to worry about damaging them like you do a surf board made of wood or polystyrene.

Again, thanks for your pro-kayak stance, I will happily continue to fly United on any flight you allow me to check my kayak on. Hopefully in the near future this will include your 737's. Thanks for your consideration.

Your name
Whitewater Kayaker
And here is the link where you can submit it:

United Airlines - United Customer Service contact information

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Old 10-22-2012   #2
Beaverton, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 572
These are extra potent coming from people with a frequent flyer status out there.
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Old 10-22-2012   #3
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 170
Absolutely true. The more status, the more pull.

Please help if you can, and if you have an interest in flying with your creek boat!
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Old 10-24-2012   #4
Lotus, California
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 1
Good Idea! I just sent in my own version... I was very lucky, I just flew to Costa Rica with my creek boat, paddle and gear bag and WAS NOT charged at all. But a friend of mine came with only 3 paddles and was charged over $250! United being one of the only major airlines accepting kayaks, should not have such confusing/difficult sporting equipment policies. Thanks for your time and effort in changing the matter
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Old 10-24-2012   #5
caspermike's Avatar
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,507
Can you do this with Allegiant so we can get some 100 dollar boating trips from Denver? Be the big t connection
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Old 10-24-2012   #6
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 265
I've been 1K with United for 8 years now and will ask about this, but I'm concerned it will have the opposite effect. As they move towards more regional (i.e. smaller) aircraft, this restriction is just going to be come tighter. Off to ask!
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Old 10-24-2012   #7
Lakewood, Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 509
Got a response today:

Thank you for contacting United Airlines.

Dear Mr. Tetreault:

Thank you for contacting United Airlines.

Our decision to implement size restrictions for checked items did not
come easily. Faced with extraordinary challenges, we, like so many
others, have had to make difficult decisions to ensure that we are able
to continue offering service that optimizes our customers’ travel needs
as well as competitive fares and a superior product.

When considering checked items like kayaks, aircraft capacities and
logistics have determined size allowances on our flights.

I understand your concerns and will include your comments in a monthly
report that is distributed to senior management for internal review.

We appreciate your business and look forward to welcoming you on board a
future United Airlines flight.


Irene Smith
Customer Care
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Old 10-24-2012   #8
JDHOG72's Avatar
Wolcott, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 432
Done! Thanks for leading the charge on this Darcy!

Let the boats travel!
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Old 10-25-2012   #9
Sugar Land, Texas
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 5
I got this response a few days ago.

Dear Mr. Risch,

We value your response and comments Thank you for contacting United

We appreciate when customers take the time to share comments and
suggestions. Feedback like yours presents opportunities to improve or
enhance our products and services.

Your comments will be forwarded to appropriate senior management for
internal review and necessary corrective action.

We appreciate your business and look forward to welcoming you on board a
future United Airlines flight.


Dione Propst
Customer Care
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Old 10-26-2012   #10
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 170
Well...glad to see they are responding. Hopefully "senior management" will look kindly upon our requests!
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